Gayle, Rahul power Kings XI past KKR

The legend of Chris Gayle continued to grow in the company of young K L Rahul as Kings XI Punjab outclassed Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets in a rain-hit IPL encounter here on Saturday.

While KKR scored a competitive 191 for 7 in 20 overs, KXIP had a revised target of 125 in 13 overs after a sharp spell of shower halted play for 95 minutes.

Gayle completed a hat-trick of half-centuries with an unbeaten 62 from 38 balls that had five fours and six sixes while Rahul helped himself to 60 off only 27 balls.

Gayle hit the winning six off Tom Curran over long-on as they sealed the issue with 11 balls to spare.

Having scored the fastest half-century in IPL, Rahul once again underlined his credentials as an opener in the shortest format with nine fours and two sixes as KXIP climbed to the top of the table with eight points from five games. This was also their first win at the Eden Gardens since 2012.

KXIP were 96 for no loss in 8.2 overs, 31 runs ahead of the DLS par score, when rain halted play at 6.40pm, but there was no let-up in intensity for Gayle as he resumed his innings with a huge six over long off to complete his 50 in only 28 balls.

There was a further setback in store for KKR as their big-hitting Jamaican Andre Russell was taken off in the fourth over after he seemed to have aggravated a hamstring strain.

Gayle had launched into Russell hitting two sixes and a boundary when the bowler was seen clutching his right thigh. Nitish Rana completed the over.

Gayle and Rahul mainly dealt in boundaries against the KKR pace attack of Shivam Mavi and Russell as there seemed to be a race to who will reach the 50-run mark first between them. The Powerplay overs yielded 73 runs and that killed the contest.

Earlier, Chris Lynn, who has had a quiet time so far, got into his groove in his 74 off 41 balls (6x4, 4x6) to lift KKR to a challenging total.

Lynn stitched two crucial fifty-plus partnerships in the middle -- first 72 runs from 41 balls with Robin Uthappa (34) and then 62 off 34 balls with Dinesh Karthik (43) -- to help KKR overcome a shaky start after they were sent in to bat by Ravichandran Ashwin.




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